Mytholder (mytholder) wrote,


It's looking like my Sunday evening game is going to be a RuneQuest-variant-powered Black Ops game, inspired by equal measures of the Suppressed Transmissions and Stargate. The initial briefing document:

What is the Erebus Rift?: The exact nature of the Rift (or the Antarctic Magnetic Anomaly, as it is also known) is still a mystery to science. It is, apparently, a rift in space-time. It is located in a cave beneath Mount Erebus. It was initially discovered in 1908 by the Shackleton expedition, but the properties of the Rift were not realised until the experiments in the 1930s.

The most important of these properties is what we refer to as the Countdown. It is possible to ‘sense’ upcoming events by close observation of the anomaly. These precognitions almost always centre on apocalyptic events. As the event draws closer, the precise location of the event becomes easier to determine (although observers are rarely able to determine precisely what should be done at that location). A Strike Force JANUS team is sent to that location to avert the impending disaster. Since the establishment of the Strike Force in the 1960s, multiple planet-wide disasters have been averted in the manner.

The rift has other properties, which the JANUS project is continuing to investigate. However, as attending to the Countdown has preserved life as we know it, research into the rift is very much secondary to observation.

What is Strike Force JANUS? SFJ is a secret military unit dedicated to the observation and utilisation of the Erebus Rift. It was originally a joint operation between the British and United States navies; the operation was expanded to all NATO and Warsaw Pact signatories in the 1960s, and placed under United Nations control following a series of incidents where Countdowns were centred in non-NATO countries. Despite this, JANUS is still primarily a United States operation.

Knowledge of the existence of JANUS is top secret for multiple reasons, not the least of which is the Erebus Rift’s sensitivity to psychic transmissions. If the Rift were to become public knowledge, the resulting perturbations from millions of low-level psychics would likely render Observation impossible.

JANUS (Joint Allied Naval command, Unorthodox Surveillance) is divided into four sections:
• INTERCEPTION (or ‘field’)

Interceptor Teams are located throughout the world. When informed of a running Countdown by Observation, teams are dispatched to the ‘hot zone’. As the Countdown approaches zero, the teams zero in on the Focal Point. The closer to zero, the more accurately Observation can determine the precise co-ordinates of the Focal Point.

What is the operational remit of Interceptors? Where possible, Interceptor units are to operate covertly – the fewer people involved, the better. However, as it is theorised that every Countdown relates to, at the very least, the end of western civilisation, Interceptors can call in whatever resources they need.

What were the previous Countdowns? Most previous Countdowns are classified, but there are several threats which have recurred often enough to justify being part of this initial briefing:
• Release of a deadly virus: Three times in the last 10 years, a Countdown has related to the evolution or engineering of a deadly airborne virus.
• Military Flashpoint: Any potential conflict involving nuclear powers risks a Countdown. There were Countdowns during both Gulf Wars, the Nine Day Way, and throughout most of the Cold War.
• Psychic Emanations: Unusually powerful psychics can trigger Countdowns. It has been suggested that these Countdowns are not impending apocalypses; rather, the Rift is acting to defend itself from being perturbed by these psychics.
• Causality Events: Countdowns do not only relate to the preservation of life on Earth, but on the maintenance of this specific reality.
Tags: actual play, gaming, janus, runequest

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